We Are Seven: Artist Commune Project

The We Are Seven Commune Project was a month long artist residency for Seven New York based artists. A collaboration between Grizedale Arts and The Wordsworth Trust, the artists were based in the scenic tourist hub of The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, Lake District, UK. Artists were Ian Cooper, Daphne Fitzpatrick, Rachel Foullon, K8 Hardy, Adam Putnam, Dana Sherwood, Allison Smith.

Location: Edinburgh

The Embassy is a non-profit making artist-run gallery. The gallery holds a yearly programme of exhibitions and events, hosts video and performance nights at Edinburgh College of Art, and exhibits at off site projects including Zoo Art Fair.
Current Embassy Committee:
Angela Beck
John A. Harrington
Norman James Hogg
Daniella Watson

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Continued interview with K8...

Daniella :To what extent would you say that the We Are seven project is a demonstration of resistance, rebellion, or perhaps an attempt to construct your own sense of community within the group and have these ideals been challenged by living in Grasmere itself

K8 :So you said to what extent is the project a rebellion?

Daniella :Through community or coming to a place and stamping your own identities

K8 :Do you feel that we are doing that?

D :I don't, but I imagine with a commune that it was something about going to a place and working as a group, and infiltrating the place in a way, and coming from the States that you have your own identities.

K :Well I wouldn't say that we are a rebellion necessarily, we're brought here and supported by Grizedale and Wordsworth so we're part of their operation, their institution so...How well we fit into it is questionable and indiscernible to myself. I don't think that Wordsworth has brought artists in and it seems to be something new for Grizedale also. I don't think that intentionally we are a rebellion, that the idea of us coming here is an act of rebellion. We really looked forward to it and to work together as artists. I think the idea of a commune in general like a real commune is a rebellion against society. We are not a real commune, I think that we are re-enacting a commune.

D: What would you say differentiates you as an artist seeking something from the lakes from a non artist/tourist who is also seeking something from the lake district? How do you approach your enviroment in a different way to say someone who has come on a tour bus?

K8 Hardy: Before I said that we are as much toursits and I still agree with that. But I constantly think about it , you know when I walk out of the door I see people desperatly taking photographs to try and capture their trip or Wordworths cottage or something and in the States there will literaly be a sign with a camera on it which basically means that 'this is a good place to take a photograph' and I think about these places that are constatnly photographed over and over. So I would have to say that the biggest differences between the average tourist and myself is not only in age generally, but there is some sort of critical analysis of the situation that we are in, thinking alot more about what it means to be here, where we are from, an awarness of how we produce images and how we fit in a space or not and I think that is part of our art world stance. Its a bit deconsrtuctive, its a bit critical and constantly enquireing into this. Yes I should take a photo of Wordsworth cottage before I leave to have on my own but it is probably on the internet. I am interested in what it means to constantly produce things in photograph and as images. Everyone has a digital camera and everyone is snap , snap, snapping away. We are producing such a mass of images that I am a little confused. If anything I feel a little neglected as an artist here. I want to have discussions with people and show them my work and see what they are thinking.

D Do you think that the twice weekly meetings and in the retunda and at the discussions has been benificial? Hearing about the other of the seven but also the extended discussions that have come out of them... do you think that they could have been approached in a different way that could have allowed you to get to know more about their individual practices, about their opinions as well? Do you think the discussions could have been channeld in a differerent way?

K8 Well I think that the idea of the discussions is really great public forum. I thought it would have been great to have had a chance at a public open studio... if people would like to know more about an artists practice well you cant really learn about that in a meeting. That could have happened. As an artist you want to show people your work and see what sort of dialogues thatb would create, and this is far different from the New York art world and I would get totally different feedback. I think if we had have been asked to just present out art it would maybe of been less engaging. I am not sure. I had few preconceptions. I was pretty much baffled until I arrived. The first two weeks at summer hill were nicer in terms of dealing with tourists but here it was a little exhausting as there is just too many tourists around here but on the other hand there is just as many walks, and you could find solitude. I can see that this is just like a retreat here but on the other hand is just boatloads of not very well thought out tourism.

D It terms of your interactions within the commune, how do you feel as an individual within a group? How do you feel it has gone?

K8 The two different cottages has severly hampered the idea of the commune. I mean we still exist like that and we are still a team but we have to start splitting up the money and the kitchen and you know groceres. One night they are up till one playing a puzzle and we are just here not knowing what is going on.

D So do you think that when you were at Summerhill you got the groundwork done and got the ball rolling?

K8 I think so yeah. There was much more time for group interaction and room and stuff like that but they both have there ups and downs. I think that the greater part of the commune exists in comradory which is what I think you were talking about. You know democratic communal living being achived or what have you. It was never really laid down. It was rather felt that we would intuitive it as free thinking individuals coming together. I just took things as they came and I guess for me the only things that could improve and still can is just resources and you know there is an archive right across the street and we can't get into it! We dont have access to it. Things like that could have improved. Just efforts to be condusive to our desperate practices could have been improved.


Post a Comment

<< Home